6. Grouplove- The band that refuses to go away. Just when you think Grouplove's 15 minutes of fame is up, they turn out another catchy single to keep them relevant. I was actually surprised they didn't play the previous two Boston Calling festivals. A young, up and coming band who is trying to become a household name (they're well on their way at this rate) could be an underdog type of surprise that could generate some buzz that they deserve. Their songs range from cheery to downright depressing, and they have a lot to prove. I think a lot of people hear them on the radio and just think that they are a flash in the pan who has gotten lucky with 4-5 singles over the past few years. Boston Calling could be their coming out party. I think Grouplove is here to stay, but a true test for them would be nailing a set as the surprise band at Boston Calling.
5. Jimmy Eat World- This might be the best warmup to Death Cab For Cutie. You have similarities in bands (I might be wrong here, but they might have toured together at some point?) which makes sense having them followed up by Death Cab since they would have similar listeners. Jimmy Eat World has a break in their touring schedule from March to August, making it reasonable that they could play a night in a major city without much hassle. Also, Jimmy Eat World is someone who won't steal the spotlight of a festival, works as a good pick for a surprise, and they are a crowd pleaser. Sure, most people may only know their breakthrough song 'The Middle', but they've been around and have had their fair share of hits over the years. I think in terms of the other bands on the lineup, these guys may be the best fit in musical style.
4. Say Anything- I think Say Anything would be a nice fit for Boston Calling. They're sort of in-between albums right now, supposedly coming out with a new one later this year, and they don't have any shows planned as of right now. In terms of the lineup, you gotta compare them to the 2nd to last band on Sunday, which is Brand New. I think Say Anything and Brand New are pretty equal in terms of popularity (personally, I'd take Brand New over Say Anything any day, but I'll admit they're close) and they are a band that a lot of people would be pleasantly surprised to see. Say Anything is good because you have those quirky WTF type songs like 'Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too' and 'Do Better' which would get massive sing alongs from the crowd, and then hit them with meaningful songs like 'Alive With the Glory of Love', 'Walk Through Hell' and 'Burn A Miracle'. This would be a solid surprise performer, perfect to not take away all the spotlight from the headlining Death Cab For Cutie. It just kinda sorta makes sense.
3. Dropkick Murphy's- It makes so much sense, yet it might be a letdown. Boston's favorite band with bagpipes would make perfect sense as a surprise guest, but I feel like it may be so obvious that people would get kind of pissed off. On one hand, they would certainly bring a new genre to the table with all their horns and pipes and plaid and whatnot, but on the other hand it almost may be too....I don't know...is gimmicky the right word? I'm sure I'm speaking for a lot of other people in the greater Boston area by saying that I'd be perfectly fine going a few years without hearing 'Shipping Up to Boston'. Not only are they almost too Boston-y, they play like 18 straight nights at the House of Blues leading up to St. Patrick's Day every year, including this year. Although it may be a no brainer of a surprise guest, it may be too obvious and could leave the festival attendees feeling a bit underwhelmed.
2. Cage the Elephant- Cage the Elephant could provide a spark to the lineup that it may need. This lineup is solid, but I think it would maybe use one more rock band who can get people a little bit crazy towards the end of the night. Cage the Elephant is the perfect band for this to happen. They can rock out with the best of them, they're young and have a growing fan base, and they're coming off of a new album which can always use some more publicity. The problem here is that they are playing in Washington (you know, the state) the night before. That might be too far for them to realistically play Boston Calling, but there may still be a chance. Fingers crossed, you guys.
1. Pixies- I mean, a band who formed at UMass must have a slight itch to perform at a festival in their home city. The Pixies have become more and more famous as time goes on, and now that they have gone back on tour and released two EPs recently makes it seem that they are on a roll and probably won't slow down. One problem in them playing Boston Calling is that they recently played Boston at the Orpheum Theatre about 3 weeks ago, so maybe it will be a bit too soon to play Boston again. On the other hand, that show sold out and I'm sure they realize that they still have a huge following here in Boston, so why not perform to a huge crowd and give everyone else a fair shot at seeing them. If there is one band who deserves a true musical hero's welcome in Boston, it's got to be The Pixies. If you only know The Pixies from 'Where is My Mind?' playing during the final scene of 'Fight Club', you should definitely do some more listening to them. I saw them play a festival in Chicago this past September, and they are totally worth going to see. I'm praying that these guys are the secret performers. That would be a surprise guest who would not fall flat upon revelation.